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Product Guide

WRB FAQ (That’s Water Resistive Barrier)

Here are the questions the folks at ZIP, Benjamin Obdyke, Certainteed, Henry, and 475 field the most. And their answers.

Researching building materials is no easy task. Manufacturers often won’t answer important questions. What they don’t seem to understand is that their marketing messages often don’t distinguish them in a field of products that are all taunting the same benefits. Perhaps they don’t understand that builders, architects, and engineers are smart and have a lot at stake. Trying a new product is a consequential decision.

Fortunately, I didn’t run into a lot of this when researching WRBs for “The Complicated Role of a Water-Resistive Barrier.” There was a “trade secret” here and there, but for the most part the manufacturers were more than helpful and honest. One thing that I asked all of them was, “What are the most common questions you get about your products?” Here are some of their responses.

Why should I spend money on an expensive housewrap when the siding is keeping most of the water out?

Siding does keep a lot of water away from your wall assemblies, but experts agree that even the best siding installations leak. And there are other ways that water can get behind your siding and into your walls. Brian Kirn at Certainteed says that the upgrade from CertaWrap—their woven, perforated, more budget-oriented housewrap—to CertaWrap Premium—their nonwoven, nonperforated high-performance product—will only add a few hundred dollars to the cost of a project. Kirn says that you can get away with CertaWrap in drier areas with less intense weather. Everywhere else, the upgrade to CertaWrap Premium is money well spent.

If I overdrive nails when installing ZIP System sheathing, do I create a weak link in my water-resistive barrier?

Chris Clark, the director of technical services at Huber, says this is the number one question he’s asked. The answer is: It depends.…

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